05.15.07

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Further Evidence That Microsoft’s Patent Claims are an Ineffective Farce

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 7:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft would have us believe that an operating system such as Novell’s SUSE is in fact its own territory. It would have us believe that it invented the GUI, the word processor, the spreadsheet, and the double click (yes, there is a patent on that as well). Have a look at the following musing from a mystified BTL columnist.

What exactly are these patents about? I can look at Ubuntu and say “hey this is Windows-ish.” Is that a patent problem?

Consider the following statement, which teaches us how pointless and ineffective software patents have become.

“I remain convinced that the software patent system is fundamentally broken,” O’Grady said.

Broken or not, “After the KSR decision, software patents are especially vulnerable now,” Jenkins noted.

O’Grady doesn’t believe that Microsoft will sue its own customers, despite the fact that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer left that option open. “I don’t believe, at this point, that users should be concerned,” he said.

This validates our contention that here we have a dog barking, but it will never bite. Ignore the attempts to create fear and stick to practical considerations and logic. Software patents may be there on paper, but they may have become a waste of time and money. The courts reject them. They have recently been tested in court and no-one other than Microsoft defeated them. Is that a shot in the foot? Clearly. Just consider the fact that Microsoft was possibly spearheading the initiative to make software patentable in the first place.

MS are key sponsors of “Voices For Innovation” aimed at MS customers and designed to put a positive spin on software patents and enlist people to lobby on their behalf.

Additionally, have a look at this so-called “innovation panel”.

He [Schramm] will be part of a lineup that includes the Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer, 3M CEO George Buckley, UPS Chairman and CEO Michael Eskew, IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano and Wal-Mart Stores Vice Chairman John Menzer.

Where are the small companies? Of course, the giant conveniently exclude them. Have a look at the following very disturbing article.

A report published by an EU task force on intellectual property claims that small businesses benefit from a patent system, despite lacking almost any participation by the small business community.

Instead, the report, titled IPR (intellectual property rights) for competitiveness and innovation, was written up almost entirely by large corporations and the patent industry.

[...]

The report does note objections from the likes of patentfrei.de and Sun Microsystems, which were recorded at some length in the report. But this does not appear to have impacted the conclusion of the report in any way

[...]

Jean-Pierre Laisne, of ObjectWeb, an open source software community, said that he found the report useless: participants were told that all their contributions would be recorded but at the end only those of Business Software Alliance and Microsoft were used.

It has become clear that software patents are nothing but an attempt to stifle a free market. It’s anti capitalist, it is predatory, and it is unacceptable.

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